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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

Why Bad Books Outsell Yours

by Brian Feinblum

Good Evening Everyone!! Please welcome Brian Feinblum of the BookMarketingBuzzBlog to the Writers Journey Blog this week. I saw this article on his blog and asked for permission to reprint. It is a new way to think about an old problem!

Scoot on over and check out his blog at:

Why Bad Books Outsell Yours Authors often ask: Why isn’t my book selling better? They also will ask: Why are bad books outselling mine?

The answer is not a surprising one, but one that needs to be fully understood and embraced. For a book to sell – whether it is good, bad, or other -- it will need lots of publicity. That is the differentiator. If a book is really good, then it will get positive word-of-mouth attention. But, no word-of-mouth can happen on any large scale unless the book has been aggressively marketed to secure several thousand readers. So being a really good book does add to sales later but does not guarantee, by itself, good initial sales.  This is how the world works. Regardless of the quality of a book, product, or service, marketing sells us on something. The book’s content quality is experienced only after one is marketed to buy it, so the intrinsic worth of that book can only be anticipated and promised — not really experienced – prior to the sale. Books sell for reasons other than being great books. They sell because we are led to believe they will be very good, even when they aren’t. We are coerced to buy with: * Emotional appeals * Values statements * Testimonials * Advertisements * Author’s Credentials * Author’s Looks or Voice * The Cover Art * Catchy Title * Back Cover Copy * Media Appearances * Book Reviews * Social Media We buy the sizzle — not the steak. People do judge a book by its cover. We may pick beauty over brains and style over substance. Even the most cautious or intelligent people will make a purchasing decision based on a gut feel, an emotional plea, a false promise, a colorful cover, an attractive author, or snappy ad copy. Can a bad book be a best-seller? Absolutely. Can a great book struggle to get sales? You know it can. So how do we ensure better books sell better and undeserving books get shafted? Sell with the confidence and conviction of having a great book and the desperation and urgency of someone trying to save a life. You cannot sit back and expect your book to sell, even if it contains the cure to cancer or winning stock strategies. You must go out and prove your book’s worth every day. Assume nothing, take nothing for granted, and expect nothing. Make things happen. Otherwise, another good book finishes last while some mediocre trash dances onto a best-seller list, and you are still wondering why. Please Contact Me For Help Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.

About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:

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